Decorating Ideas

Nine Foolproof Ways to Decorate with Patterned Rugs

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Solids can certainly be chic, but there’s nothing like a print to introduce a healthy dose of visual interest into a space. Whether you’re pattern-shy or fearless with fabrics, there’s a decorative rug out there for you. From statement-making to subtle and subdued, patterned rugs come in all styles, colors, and scales and can solve numerous decorating woes. Read on for some of our favorite ways to decorate with patterned rugs.

Mix Large- and Small-Scale Patterns

We’re all for an eclectic mix, but to prevent chaos, you should try to balance large-scale patterns with more-diminutive ones. If you’ve fallen for a traditional rug with a large-scale pattern, pair it with a small-scale check or floral instead of something equally attention-grabbing. 

Shop traditional rugs →

Go Wild in Subtle Hues

Some decorators think of animal prints as neutrals, mixing them with assorted colors and patterns as if they were ever-adaptable white. We’ll never knock a chic tiger-print pillow, but often soft palettes are best when it comes to animal-print rugs. Go easy when you go wild in the rug department.

Shop animal-print rugs →


Shown above: the Kent Rug.

Shown above: the Kent Rug.

Select Stripes for Versatility

Worried about wedding yourself to a bold pattern? Consider classics like plaids, ginghams, spots, and stripes, any of which is a commitment-phobe’s best friend. These timeless designs can easily be reinvented and carried from room to room. Take that simple black-and-white striped rug from your child’s bright playroom to your grown-up dining room and give it a new life beneath a traditional dining table. Dress up neutral stripes in a sleek living room or dress them down in a casual den.

Shop striped rugs →

Shown above: the Harwich Handwoven Rug, the Isadora Performance Linen Sofa in Snow, and the Scatter Rattan Ottoman.

Rethink Natural Fiber

A staple of traditional homes, natural-fiber rugs are as versatile and durable as can be. If you are wary of pattern and like the casual, rustic look of sisal and jute, consider a natural-fiber rug with an inviting design such as a herringbone or diamond pattern. That little something extra will take your room to the next level.

Shop natural-fiber rugs →

Shown above, far right: the Bathilde Rug.

Shown above, far right: the Bathilde Rug.

Layer for a Bohemian Look

If it’s a free-spirited, worldly vibe you’re after, try layering a few one-of-a-kind flat-weave rugs over one another. Kilims, dhurries, Navajo-style rugs, and many Turkish rugs are great candidates for this bohemian styling trick, and mixing rugs of varying sizes and shapes can create a more dynamic scene. Just be sure that the color palettes of the rugs complement each other.

Add a Pop to Simple Bathrooms

All-white bathrooms and kitchens have a soft spot in our hearts—swoon factor aside, when you’re spending a small fortune on a renovation, committing to a trendy tile or color is not always wise. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun! A patterned rug in the bathroom is the perfect way to add joie de vivre, and you can easily swap it out for something fresh when the mood strikes.


Photo by Pär Bengtsson. Room design by Dennis Brackeen.

Photo by Pär Bengtsson. Room design by Dennis Brackeen.

Make a Statement with Large-Scale Graphics

If you really want to captivate your audience, go big with a vibrant, large-scale graphic pattern. Try the look in a neutral, art-filled bedroom or a living room with solid upholstery, and layer in more fun with art and accessories.

Shop contemporary rugs →

Use the Palette As a Starting Point

Every room should have at least one focal point, and a patterned rug is a shoo-in for the job. If you find a rug you love, let it drive your color scheme. Pull out a foundation color for the upholstery, echo an accent color in a throw pillow, and sprinkle in a complementary metal finish for the finishing touch. It’s a foolproof room formula.

Photo by Cheng Lin

Photo by Cheng Lin

Go Monochrome with Beni Ourain Carpets

When it comes to trend appeal, Beni Ourain carpets show no signs of stopping. Not only are they ultraplush and soft underfoot, but they’re also stylistically versatile. From updated midcentury to bona fide boho to modern with worldly flair, these rugs run the style gamut. One of our favorite uses is in a superneutral room for an ambience that’s calm, cool, and heavenly.

Shop Beni Ourain rugs →

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